“Orders came for an overseas draft to be formed of 50 men per company or 200 men per Battalion. The men volunteered in overwhelming numbers but the withdrawal of the trained men – troops who had had finer all round training probably than 80 percent of troops sent to France – was heartbreaking to Officers and N.C.O.’s who had the pride of the Battalion at heart.”
“On September 2nd the draft departed for France and at Calais the conducting officers were told that it was the best draft received for a very long time. Nearly all were sent to the regular line Battalions.”
[2/6th Battalion The Sherwood Foresters 1914-1918: ITS PART IN THE DEFEAT OF THE IRISH REBELLION 1916 by G. J. Edmunds]
Service Record for 2966 Pte Lester Cox recording his transfer to the 1/6th Battalion and arrival in France with the 20th Reinforcement in September 1916. Lester was posted to the 2nd Battalion
70706 Pte John Hellaby from Yeldersley (left) and 70706 Pte Thomas Twigge from Parwich (right) were also amongst the men that volunteered. Both men were later killed serving with the 1st Battalion
To replace the men that had left for France, 200 men from London were posted to the 2/6th Battalion between September and December 1916 and given the regimental numbers 242002 to 242199.
Amongst the men mobilised at this time was Sidney Greenfield, a 40 year old traveller from Old Kent Road, who attested in June 1916 and was mobilised on the 19th September when he was sent to the Administrative Centre of the 6th Battalion Sherwood Foresters in Chesterfield. Sidney arrived in France on the 27th February 1917 (after only 5 month training) and was later to suffer a gun shot wound on the 29th September 1917 during the 3rd Battle of Ypres.
Silver War Badge Certificate issued to 242121 Pte Sidney Rowe who attested in December 1915 and was mobilised on the 6th September 1916. Later discharged in April 1918 due to wounds. Only served overseas with the 2/6th Battalion.
Other men included
- 242038 Pte Bradley from Hackney
- 242060 Pte Albert Edward Sanders from Bethnal Green
- 242064 Pte Gannon from Whitehall
- 242097 Pte Edward Fowles from Islington
242008 Pte Harry Samuel Baker from Camberwell
Amongst the Londoners posted to the 2/6th Battalion was 242008 Pte Harry Samuel Baker from Camberwell (below).
Harry with his wife wife Florence, mother-in-law Polly Sykes and baby son Harry J Baker born 8th September 1916
On the 26th September 1917, Harry suffered a gun shot wound in the jaw during a German raid on the British trenches near La Coulutte. Following treatment at Hospital and in the 6th Convalescent Depot at Etaples, Harry returned to the 2/6th Battalion. He was posted missing following the German Spring Offensive on the 21st March 1918 and later died whilst a Prisoner of War on the 27th August 1918. At the time he was working in the Nordstein Mine at branch Camp 1028.
[Many thanks to Wendy and John Baker for sending this family picture and for more of Harry’s story please see here]